"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"

Father God, thank you for the love of the truth you have given me. Please bless me with the wisdom, knowledge and discernment needed to always present the truth in an attitude of grace and love. Use this blog and Northwoods Ministries for your glory. Help us all to read and to study Your Word without preconceived notions, but rather, let scripture interpret scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Friday, December 9, 2016

Two Teens Planning ‘ISIS-Inspired’ Attack Arrested in Germany

    © Rüdiger Gaertner / YouTube

Authorities in the southern German state of Baden-Wurttemberg have detained two teenagers aged 15 and 17 who allegedly plotted to stage Islamic State-inspired attacks on “public institutions.”

The arrests of the teenagers took place during raids on Thursday near Aschaffenburg and Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg, all in the vicinity of Frankfurt.

Both teens “were planning an Islamist-motivated attack on a public institution in the district of Aschaffenburg, for which they wanted to procure firearms,” Karlsruhe prosecutor's office announced on Friday.

While the identities of the arrested teenagers have not been disclosed, the prosecutors did point out that at least one of those detained had displayed “indications” of mental illness.

Militant Muslims are all mentally ill! I'm not the only one who thinks so: 

“I came to the absolute conviction that it is impossible…impossible…
for any human being to read the biography of Mohammed and believe in it,
and then emerge a psychologically and mentally healthy person.” 

- Syrian Psychiatrist Dr. Wafa Sultan

However, the authorities said that there were no signs that the accused “at this time had been able to implement the suspected plans.” However, they noted that the very planning of an attack still amounts to a crime.

Police said that during the arrests, they recovered extremist propaganda and ISIS flags. The suspects’ electronic data storage devices and mobile phones were also confiscated, but no firearms were found.

    Ashaffenburg Christmas market

Germany has been on high alert following a number of terrorist attacks on its territory and across the EU this year.

On July 24, 15 people were injured in a suicide bombing outside a wine bar in Ansbach. The bomber, identified as Mohammad Daleel, was a 27-year-old Syrian refugee who had pledged allegiance to Islamic State.

Prior to that, some nine days earlier, Pakistani national Riaz Khan Ahmadzai attacked passengers on a train in Wurzburg with an ax and a knife, wounding five.

Anti-terror raids across the country have intensified since then and have led to arrests of suspected IS operatives and people believed to have been influenced by jihadist ideology.

Overall, Europe remains on guard, especially for the holiday season, following a series of deadly terrorist attacks stretching back to 2015.

    Ashaffenburg, Germany

Venezuelan Army Mixed Up in Massacre

Six more Venezuelan soldiers arrested over
Barlovento massacre
By Andrew V. Pestano  UPI

Venezuela's Public Ministry, led by chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega Díaz, said six more Venezuelan soldiers -- 18 total -- have been arrested over the deaths of 13 people in the case now known as the Barlovento massacre. The soldiers are charged with crimes including homicide and torture. Photo courtesy Luisa Ortega Díaz

CARACAS, Venezuela, (UPI) -- Venezuela's Public Ministry on Friday revealed six more soldiers are under arrest over alleged involvement in the deaths of 13 people in the case known as the Barlovento massacre.

Twelve of the victims were killed between Oct. 16 and Oct. 19 while a teenager was detained and tortured to death between Nov. 25 and Nov. 26, the Public Ministry said. The incidents occurred in the Barlovento region's Acevedo municipality.

In response to investigations coordinated by the Public Prosecutor's Office and the arrest warrants requested from the corresponding courts, a total of 18 Bolivarian National Army personnel have been deprived of their liberty for their alleged responsibility for the disappearance and death of 12 people, and a teenager," the Public Ministry said in a statement.

The soldiers, which includes high-ranking officers, are charged with crimes such as homicide, torture, inhuman treatment, forced disappearance of persons and improper use of weapons.

A dozen decomposing corpses, believed to be 12 people, including youths, who disappeared in October after a Liberation of the People, or OLP, security operation, were found late November -- most in a mass grave in mountainous terrain.

Venezuela's Chief Prosecutor Luisa Ortega Díaz previously said the victims killed did not have criminal records, adding that they were detained "without any form of judgment."

The killings of the young civilians has led to sharp criticism of President Nicolas Maduro's OLP, nationwide security program, which was created to combat Venezuela's high rates of crime and homicide.

Killing people is not the most elegant way of dealing with homicides. It would be interesting to know what these people had in common. Were they politically active? Is Maduro out of control?

Wilders Convicted of Hate Speech in Netherlands - No Penalty

Far-right Wilders convicted in hate speech case, says 'half of Netherlands' convicted with him

FILE PHOTO: Dutch far-right Party for Freedom (PVV) leader Geert Wilders © Laszlo Balogh / Reuters

Far-right politician Geert Wilders has been convicted of discrimination and inciting hatred by a Dutch court. However, he received no penalty or punishment for his conviction.

The politician was charged regarding a 2014 incident in which he urged his supporters to chant they wanted “Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!” Moroccans in the Netherlands. The Dutch Moroccan minority was outraged and pressed charges.

The court said it has “legally and convincingly proven” that Wilders insulted Moroccans as a group, as cited by the EU Observer.

Wilders denied any wrongdoing, saying the comments he made, which also included referring to Moroccans as “scum,” are protected as free speech.

Commenting on the verdict, Judge Hendrik Steenhuis said the court decided not to impose a sentence on Wilders, as the conviction was punishment enough for a democratically-elected lawmaker.

The politician is now planning to appeal his conviction, RTL Nieuws reported. He has two weeks to do so.

Wilders is a Dutch anti-EU politician, who made a name for himself as an outspoken orator, often provoking outrage with his remarks.

He repeatedly said his trial is a politically-motivated attempt to damage the image of the Dutch Party for Freedom (PPV), which is headed by Wilders and which has become the most popular party in opinion polls recently, with an election in the Netherlands just around the corner.

In a tweet following the announcement of the court’s decision, Wilders said his conviction was “madness,” and called the judges “haters” of his far-right party.

In a videotaped response to the verdict later on Friday, Wilders also said his conviction was an attempt to silence him before the national election in March.

“I will never be silenced,” he stressed, as cited by Reuters, slamming the ruling as an attempt to “neutralize the leader (himself) of the largest and most popular opposition party in the Netherlands.”

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Footballer Survived Deadly Crash He Foresaw, While Reading Bible

Safe in the shadow of God's wings
Footballer who survived Colombian plane tragedy was reading Bible passage about being safe 'in the shadow of your wings' before crash
By Gareth Davies For Mailonline

Helio Neto
A footballer who survived the Colombian plane tragedy was reading a Bible passage about 'being safe in the shadow of your wings' before the crash.

The bible, belonging to Chapecoense centre back Helio Neto, was found at the scene of the crash and has been handed to the footballer's wife.

His wife said Neto, who is still fighting for his life in hospital, is deeply religious and takes the religious scripture with him everywhere.

His wife, Simone, said Neto has a lot of faith in God and takes the bible with him on all his trips

A bookmark had been inserted next to Psalm 63, which talks about being safe in the shadow of God's wings and about thinking of God in bed.

In detail it says: 'On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night; Because you have been my help; Then I will rejoice in the shadow of your wings. 

'My soul follows you closely; Your right hand upholds me.'

The pilot of the plane which crashed and killed 19 members of the Chapecoense football team last Monday was facing trial in his native Bolivia for military desertion, it has been revealed.

Brazilian pilots have strongly criticised charter airline LaMia for apparently taking unacceptable risks, with one accusing the pilot of mass murder.

Brazilians' anger and frustration has been compounded by media reports that Quiroga was also a partner in LaMia, leading to speculation that he did not stop to refuel to save money.

Seventy-one of the 77 people on board the plane died after it crashed in hills near Medellin on November 28.

Video footage (at bottom) shows journalist Roberto Cabrini at the scene of the wreckage and noticing the book, with a note inside saying it belongs to the defender, who is in a critical condition.

The reporter can be seen visibly shaking as he realises what it is.

He reads with a shaky voice the name that is printed on the inside of the cover, as behind him we can see the wreckage of the crash.

Mangled parts of the plane can be seen in the background and Cabrini is later seen taking the bible to the wife of Neto, who smiles as she realises what she is being given.

Neto's condition has been described as 'delicate' by doctors who said they regularly have to 'stabilise' him as he has a 'serious pulmonary infection.' 

Neto dreamed of crash

Simone had previously told how her husband had told her on the morning of the flight that he had had a dream it had crashed.

His wife, Simone, said Neto has a lot of faith in God and takes the bible with him on all his trips.

Simone had previously told how her husband had told her on the morning of the flight that he had had a dream it had crashed.

As she received the book, Simone said: 'It's the first thing he takes when he travels, and here are his annotations, I'm very grateful to have it back.'

Neto has so far undergone extensive surgery on his lungs, skull, knees and wrists. 

And he has an infection in his lungs. Can we pray for him, please?

His family say they hope he will make a full recovery.

A total of 71 people lost their lives when the British-made Avro RJ85 aircraft came down en route to Medellin, where Brazilian side Chapecoense were due to play in the Copa Sudamericana final.

On Monday, Chapecoense was awarded the Copa Sudamericana by South American football confederation Conmebol.

  video 0:43

74% of ‘Underage’ Asylum Seekers in Denmark are Adults, Teeth & Bone Tests Show

    © Nils Meilvang / Scanpix Denmark / Reuters

The Danish Immigration Service has questioned the age of some 800 asylum seekers who said they are younger than 18. In almost three out of four cases, ‘unaccompanied minors’ proved to be adults, according to a report.

Experts at the University of Copenhagen's Department of Forensic Medicine have been investigating the age of unaccompanied asylum seekers who arrived in Denmark this year and said they are under 18, Jyllands-Posten daily reported.

The Danish Immigration Service suspected that 800 asylum seekers lied about their real age.

Using X-rays of teeth and finger bones, the institute concluded that 74 percent of those tested (almost 600 persons) are in fact aged over 18.

In Denmark, unaccompanied minors enjoy a number of advantages over adults, including the ability to bring their parents to the country as part of family reunification, the newspaper reports.

By the end of November, the number of age tests commissioned by the Danish Immigration Service in 2016 was more than double those performed last year, Jyllands-Posten said.

The Department of Forensic Medicine said up to 1,000 age tests are likely to be carried out by the end of the year.

Martin Henriksen, a spokesman for the Danish People's Party, said asylum seekers deliberately hid their age in order to receive benefits that they are not entitled to.

The head of the asylum department in the Danish Refugee Council, Eva Singer, painted a different picture, however.

“There are many of these young people who don’t know exactly how old they are, because it’s not something that is registered in their home countries in the same way as in Denmark,” she told Jyllands-Posten.

I'm sure there are some, but I seriously doubt that that number is very large.

Integration Minister Inger Støjberg said the high number of migrants exposed as giving an incorrect age is proof that the Danish asylum system is efficient.

“The Danish Immigration Service is making a major effort to expose those who cheat,” she told the newspaper.

And, now what? What will you do with those who lied to and cheated the Danish people? Are these the kind of people you want to welcome into Denmark? They are already abusing you; do you think they will respect your daughters?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Ohio ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Law Moves to Kasich for Approval

    © Sebastian Kahnert / DPA / Global Look Press

Ohio Governor John Kasich may sign into law a bill that bans abortion once a heartbeat can be detected in a fetus, making the state one of the most restrictive in the US on the issue. Sponsors hope that under the Trump administration the bill will avoid being overturned.

The bill was passed on Tuesday night by the state House hours after the legislation was approved by the Senate. Kasich, an abortion opponent, earlier voiced concerns over the constitutionality of the law, but did not comment on whether he would sign it.

The bill was defeated twice in the past in the state Senate, but was revived and passed the legislature after Donald Trump’s presidential victory, Senate President Keith Faber said.

With a vacant seat in the US Supreme Court to be filled by Trump, proponents of the bill hope the justices may uphold the ban once an ensuing challenge against it reaches the top judiciary body.

"I think it has a better chance than it did before," Faber said.

Abortion was legalized in the US by the Supreme Court over four decades ago, but individual states are allowed to restrict the right to end pregnancy to certain cases. The Ohio bill gives a short window of about six weeks before a fetus heartbeat can be detected. It also makes exceptions for women whose life is under threat due to their pregnancy, but not to victims of rape or incest.

Similarly restrictive abortion laws were earlier defeated by lower courts in North Dakota and Arkansas, with the Supreme Court refusing to hear appeals on those rulings in January, Reuters reported.

The current abortion law in Ohio requires a mandatory waiting period and counseling before the procedure can be performed. Clinics performing it are only available in one out of 10 counties of the state, according to NARAL Pro-Choice America, an organization fighting for the repeal of laws restricting the right of women to terminate pregnancy.

"Banning women from getting a medical procedure is out of touch with Ohio values and is completely unacceptable," the advocacy group’s Ohio branch said in comments on the bill.

"A medical procedure"! That's a new name for it. Stopping a beating heart has many names, but 'a medical procedure' isn't one of them.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Rare Video of Aftermath Greatest Man-Made Explosion in Its Time

Rare video of Halifax harbour explosion depicts fiery aftermath of 1917 blast

    The equivalent of 5,000 tonnes of TNT sent shockwaves through Halifax in a historic explosion
    99 years ago in Canada. CTV's Bruce Frisko reports.  3:40

CTVNews.ca Staff 

The Halifax harbour explosion of 1917 remains one of the most devastating disasters in Canadian history. Nearly 2,000 people died when a ship loaded with explosives bumped into another vessel and detonated.

Actually, after the collision the ship caught on fire and rather than put out the fire or scuttle the ship, the French crew abandoned it. The ship slowly drifted across the harbour to the Halifax docks before it suddenly exploded flattening half of the city. 

See below for more history...

Ninety-nine years later, rare archival video of the day is being publicly displayed at the Army Museum Halifax Citadel.

The black-and-white images are some of the only moving depictions of Halifax in the hours after the blast. Fires can be seen burning across town, windows are blown out and countless buildings are reduced to rubble. The scenes were shot by W. G. MacLaughlan, a photographer who had a studio in town.

“At the time, the population was a little more than 50,000 people, so half of this city was directly and devastatingly affected by the explosion,” Ken Hynes, a curator at the museum, told CTV Atlantic.

A view of the pyrocumulus cloud
The explosion unfolded on Dec. 6, 1917 when a French ship filled with explosives equivalent to 5,000 tons of TNT accidentally hit a ship from Norway in the waters off Halifax. The collision sparked a massive shockwave that rocked Halifax, levelled entire neighbourhoods and altered the course of Atlantic Canadian history.

Nearly a century later, historians are still learning more about the catastrophe. A researcher who extrapolated figures from the explosion says modern-day Halifax would be hit even harder by the blast.

“If the Halifax explosion were to occur today, we would immediately have 9,600 dead, over 43,000 wounded and 120,000 without adequate shelter,” said historian and author John Boileau.

Historians have spent decades poring over materials from the days after the blast in an effort to learn more about how the community responded to the crisis.

“It can be as little as somebody writing a postcard or a letter saying, ‘I was in Halifax and I saw the devastation,’” said historian Blair Beed.

For documentary filmmaker John Versteege, the harbour explosion was so fascinating that he compiled hours of never-before-seen footage and interviews with survivors to piece together what happened. He produced the film in “Thunder in the Sky,” a 97-minute documentary released in 1993 on the 75th anniversary of the disaster.

“Big pictures are made out of millions of small events,” Versteege said.

The priceless moving pictures are among a trove of other artifacts on display at the Halifax museum, including a watchman’s clock recovered from beneath a dock in the harbour. Its face is permanently frozen at 9:04 a.m. -- the same minute the explosives went off.

   Looking north from a grain elevator towards Acadia Sugar Refinery, circa 1900, showing the
   area later devastated by the 1917 explosion

The Halifax Explosion

The Halifax Explosion was a maritime disaster in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on the morning of 6 December 1917. SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship laden with high explosives, collided with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo in the Narrows, a strait connecting the upper Halifax Harbour to Bedford Basin. A fire on board the French ship ignited her cargo, causing a large explosion that devastated the Richmond district of Halifax. Approximately 2,000 people were killed by blast, debris, fires and collapsed buildings, and an estimated 9,000 others were injured.

Mont-Blanc was under orders from the French government to carry her cargo of high explosives from New York via Halifax to Bordeaux, France. At roughly 8:45 am, she collided at low speed – approximately one knot (1 to 1.5 miles per hour or 1.6 to 2.4 kilometres per hour) – with the unladen Imo, chartered by the Commission for Relief in Belgium to pick up a cargo of relief supplies in New York. The resulting fire aboard the French ship quickly grew out of control. Approximately 20 minutes later at 9:04:35 am, Mont-Blanc exploded. The blast was the largest man-made explosion prior to the development of nuclear weapons, releasing the equivalent energy of roughly 2.9 kilotons of TNT.

    Map of present-day Halifax and Dartmouth. Bedford Basin is top left and the Narrows between
    Dartmouth and Halifax leads towards the Atlantic off the bottom on the right.

Nearly all structures within an 800-metre (2,600 ft) radius, including the entire community of Richmond, were obliterated. A pressure wave snapped trees, bent iron rails, demolished buildings, grounded vessels, and scattered fragments of Mont-Blanc for kilometres. Hardly a window in the city proper survived the blast. Across the harbour, in Dartmouth, there was also widespread damage. A tsunami created by the blast wiped out the community of Mi'kmaq First Nations people who had lived in the Tuft's Cove area for generations.

Thousands of people were injured because they were standing at their windows watching the burning ship when it exploded. Most of the injuries were shards of glass in people eyes. When I was growing up in Nova Scotia I knew people who were blind, or blind in one eye because of the explosion. And as if the explosion wasn't enough a blizzard struck Nova Scotia that night and temperatures dropped well below freezing for the next several days.

Relief efforts began almost immediately, and hospitals quickly became full. Rescue trains began arriving from across eastern Canada and the north-eastern United States, but were impeded by a blizzard. Construction of temporary shelters to house the many people left homeless began soon after the disaster. The initial judicial inquiry found Mont-Blanc to have been responsible for the disaster, but a later appeal determined that both vessels were to blame. There are several memorials to the victims of the explosion in the North End.

99 years later Nova Scotia still sends a huge Christmas Tree to Boston every year in appreciation for the extraordinarily benevolent response from Bostonians.

    Halifax Regional District, Nova Scotia